It’s been nearly 40 years since the release of Star Wars and it’s still remarkable just how much it has been ingrained into our popular culture. Between the movies, the books, cartoons and comics, fans have enjoyed the adventures of this galaxy far, far away and it still hasn’t died out. Even the prequels have supporters and the fact they elicit such passionate responses proves just how important Star Wars is for this world. With The Force Awakens due for release this December, expect a whole new generation to fall in love with the saga all over again and continue its legacy.
With so many behind the scenes books and documentaries having been made, not to mention tons of interviews, it’s pretty hard to find a facet of the franchise uber-fans don’t know in and out. But there are still some tidbits that might surprise the casual viewer who doesn’t indulge in such things and even the more hardcore fans might not know them. Here are 20 facts of Star Wars, both in and out of the story that makes you see it in a new light and enjoy it even more.
20 Everyone hated the Ewoks
19 The original Emperor was a woman
18 Yoda was a monkey
17 It’s also a radio drama
16 Brian DePalma worked on Star Wars
15 Return of the Jedi could have been truly wild
Before settling on Richard Marquand, Lucas considered various other directors for the final movie of the trilogy and two choices came up. The first was David Lynch who had yet to embark on his famously bizarre films and actually hated Star Wars totally. Out of respect for Lucas, he at least met for lunch but the talk of Wookies gave him a migraine and he begged off. Given his later sci-fi work was his much-derided adaptation of Dune, the genre might not have been the best for Lynch.
14 The Cover Movie names
When shooting Return of the Jedi in 1982, the film crew went to massive lengths to cover what the movie was, putting out the word to locals in Yuma that they were making a horror movie called Blue Harvest. Even when a guy managed to get inside the fence to shoot photos of Jabba’s barge, they insisted on it being a horror movie. When sandstorms delayed filming for a few days, the cast and crew half-joked of making Harvest for real. As an added tidbit, Seth McFarlane would use the Blue Harvest name as part of Family Guy’s famous Star Wars episodes. Also, the name was derived from a Japanese story that would inspire the Kurosawa movie Yojimibo.
13 Bounty hunters are into recycling
12 The sound effects came from strange places
11 Mark Hamill’s Injuries
10 Several names are never used
9 The costume stories were wild
8 C-3PO was meant to be a car salesman
7 Liam Neeson’s height added $150,000
6 Justin Timberlake was almost in Star Wars
5 George Lucas is on the Return of the Jedi poster
4 Stormtroopers are left-handed
3 Han Solo was a giant green lizard
2 Yoda’s first name
1 Obi-Wan Could Have Been Japanese
If Lucas had his way, instead of Alec Guinness, Obi-Wan would have been played by the greatest star in Japanese cinema, Toshiro Mifune. A great actor, Mifune starred in several films by Lucas’ idol, Akira Kurosawa, especially The Hidden Fortress, which Lucas has always cited as one of Star Wars’ key influences. However, the studio wanted someone with more name recognition to Western audiences (not to mention, could speak fluent English). Too bad; nothing against Sir Alec but Mifune as Obi-Wan would have made Star Wars even cooler.
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